The Night's Terror

(1st Person Point of View)

~flashback~
My dare was simple; to go to the nearby forest and camp there till dawn, and to return to the house no earlier than 7:00 am. I was allowed a sleeping bag, torch, and a companion with the same equipment. Naturally, I accepted. I chose my cousin Jordan.
~end flashback~

Right now it is 10:00 pm, two hours into my stay and so far nothing has happened. My cousin and I are currently staying in a small clearing. The trees here are not packed so closely together, not obscuring the full moon from view. The moon itself is a beacon of light shining its vibrant light upon everything, its luminous seeming to cast out the shadow, but some parts still remain deep pitch black, full of mysteries and unknown, of what lies within each enclosure, yet it so intrigues that you want to explore even though it will certainly make your hair stand and chill down your spine. The trees are tall and loom over us, making large shadows on the forest floor. The wind is strong and cold, almost never stopping. The forest floor is hard; sticks sprawled out everywhere, and a set of footprints that sunk deep into it. At first when I saw them, I thought nothing of them. Now, I question what someone would want to do in this forest; no-one ever came here, except for the occasional delinquent looking to cause some havoc.

Back to present time. Jordan and I are telling each other ghost stories around our pathetic excuse for a camp fire when we hear the bushes rustle. Now on a windy night, hearing the bushes rustle would attract almost no attention. But when the wind ceases and the bush doesn't, one questions himself, "what's going on? What's up with those bushes?" which are my thoughts exactly.

"Want to go check it out?" my cousin asks me. I shift uncomfortably. I don't think this is a good idea. First of all; we are two teenagers alone in the deep, dark woods. Second; without any adult supervision whatsoever, we are camping and now, my cousin seeks to do some exploring. Yet I reply with a sigh and a half-hearted "sure".

We creep over to the bush slowly, cautiously, crawling on all fours, like a lion stalking its prey. My cousin and I exchange quick glances, making a silent agreement, He, being 18, 3 years older than me, would look over the bush first to see if there was anything that could pose a threat to our stay. One…Jordan peaks over the other side of the bush. Two…He squints, not being able to quite clearly see what is there. Three…His eyes widen in sudden realisation, but before I can say anything, I see him being pulled into the bush against his will. His screams of terror fill the night, replacing the eerie silence that had ensued before. Shrieks and Wails of pain escape the bush, telling me to find help, to run, to get away from this twisted place. Abruptly, as fast as the screams came, they stopped, whilst a dark, cold force unlike any other settles over the clearing, and the area is enveloped in silence. I feel a sharp, hard object strike my head, and I begin to lose consciousness. "Stupid me! Curse me! Why did you have to be so stupid Nathan? You know that something is unnatural here, why would you let your guard down?!" I see the outline of a figure approaching me, but it is hard to see due to my dizziness. All I can feel is the pain in my head and the warm blood running down the side of my face, then one… two… three drops on my hand. I stumble. My mouth is dry, but I manage to croak out "Who…are…you?" My eyelids flutter shut, and the last thing I hear before I embrace the darkness that welcomes me, is a combination of ghostly moans and empty chattering, like that of a skeleton's. Right then and there, my world fades to black.

After a dreamless sleep, I wake up with a pounding headache and a dry mouth with the lingering tastes of blood, earth and nothingness. At first my vision is blurry, but when it finally clears, I notice that it is still dark. I look up at the sky and based on some quick calculations, I am able to determine that I have been out for about an hour or two. My estimations are confirmed when I sneak a glance at my wrist watch, 12:05 am. For the first time since my knockout, I happen to take in my surroundings, and the state of the campsite sickens me. I can feel the bile rising to my throat. "Oh great." I thought, taking note of the emphasis my thoughts had on the sarcasm of that last comment... "Just another thing that I need in my mouth". The clearing is trashed. Our fire is put out, our belongings destroyed. Animal parts lay strewn everywhere, leaving bloody streaks along the floor, indicating where they were dragged from. A putrid scent hung in the air, the smell of death and defilement.

After witnessing the horrors of my former campsite, I look down and saw a sight that made my blood run cold. I am bare-chested and covered in scars and bruises. The scars are at least 8cm in length if not more for each of them, and the bruises are large splotches of blue, purple and black. I touched one and it immediately sent pain stabbing through my rib cage.

"Well… I definitely won't be doing that again." I say to myself, afterwards giving a bitter laugh. I wince at the pain that is still soaring through my body, as well as the wind that burns my already open wounds.

A dark force suddenly looms over the area in which I stand, the moon seems to dim, it's once flawless white face now turning to a cloudy, dirty grey colour. The trees no longer sway in the wind, slowing down. Slow… slower… stop. The wind is still blowing as harsh as ever, as if threatening to tear a new wound in me, hungry as ever to tear my flesh apart. I turn in circles due to my confusion. "What is happening?" the thought repeats in my head for what seems like an eternity. After what was about my hundredth turn I stop and stare at two figures now standing in the clearing that weren't there before. In the dim light, I could make one out as Jordan. Oh how relieved I was to see him. And he looked fine! Aside from a few scratches, he couldn't have been better. The other figure however, was the silhouette from before I blacked out. She appeared to be a young girl, aged around twelve.

She bent up as Jordan bent down, and she whispered something in his ear. I could make out a few lines of her rambling such as "be merciless" and "bring me his heart". The silence was deafening after that, aside from the roar of blood in my ears and the thumping of my heart, threatening to burst out of my chest. My legs instantly tense, despite the pain that resulted from the action. "Yes my mistress" I heard Jordan say. He must be possessed, he would never do this… something was off. Without warning, he bolts right at me, and I run away, like a coward. I hate running. I have never been one to run, but I know that this threat is too big to face. And so the wild chase ensues.

~time skip 1 hour~
An hour into the chase and I struggle to breathe. Neither of us has backed down. I am currently running through the trees, as he chases me from the floor below. The branches and twigs sticking out of the trees tear at my exposed skin, injuring me more than I already am. Suddenly I make a wrong move and fall, feeling weightless for three metres before my body hits the hard, cold ground with a solid thud. I look to my right to see Jordan walking towards me. He doesn't run. His footsteps making a loud crunch as the ground gives way to him. "He walks because he knows it. I know it. We both know that there is no more running. This is the end." I stand up, shakily rising to my feet. If I am to die, then I am to die fighting, facing the night's terrors head on. With a defiant yell, I charge him, well, as good as a charge gets with a half dead body. He sticks his hand out and I run into it. His fist clenches around my heart, and finally, after what seemed like an eternity of pain, he rips it out, releasing me from my torment.

I lie awake for 10 excruciating seconds before darkness finally welcomes me, and I accept it without complaint. The last thing I notice before my life fades to black is that this was all stupid. All because of a dare. Screw the dare. It cost me my life. On the other hand, I have faced the terrors of the night. Sure, I lay here dying alone, but I have faced a horror I once called a fear. Suddenly the pain fades, and my world is enveloped in blackness. Nothingness.

Authors Note

Hello readers,

I hope you enjoyed reading this one-shot. This originally was an engliush assignment I had to submit and was supposed to be 400 – 500 words in length. As you can see, even without the author's note I passed that margin by a lot. Please review and provide your honest opinion, and feel free to provide any hints or suggest any corrections as you see fit. I don't mind flames. Thank you for reading The Night's Terror.